Ask the Experts – Should We Have the Speeches Before or After the Meal?

Planning & Advice

This topic comes up again and again in our forums with couples torn between having the speeches before and after the meal. Traditionally the speeches were held after the meal so guests can sit back after a nice feed and enjoy the show. However, for lots of bridal parties the thought of public speaking is enough to put them off their dinner and they sit through the meal a bag of nerves. So what to do? Do you let the bridal party get the speeches over and done with or ensure your guests are fed first? We asked our wedding experts their opinions…

From the Experts:

Eimear from Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Co. Wicklow – View Profile

Before or after. During the meal can impact the service and quality of the food in my experience.

Caroline from Roganstown Hotel & Country Club, Co. Dublin – View Profile

I recommend that the speeches are done after the wedding meal. This means that all your guests are well fed and relaxed and have also had a few drinks which means they will laugh that little bit louder at the best man’s speech (and heckle louder too!).

Susan from The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick – View Profile

It really depends on how nervous your speakers are! Glossophobia or fear of public speaking is a common condition which can affect anyone including some of the most successful CEO’s so it’s not uncommon for your Dad to feel real fear which might ruin a lovely meal if he spends the whole day panicking. In this case, it’s better to let him speak before the meal and get it over with.

Sandra from Heights Hotel Killarney, Kerry – View Profile

I would always suggest that if you have nervous speakers then have the speeches before the meal, otherwise whoever is speaking won’t enjoy their meal!! Also a good alternative is to have some before and have the rest after dessert just to break them up a bit.

John from The Westwood Hotel, Galway – View Profile

I would suggest after the meal – make sure everyone is fed first.

Monique from Green Isle Hotel, Dublin – View Profile

To be honest, I think before as it relaxes all involved and also less chance of drunken speeches!

Edward from Martinstown House, Kildare – View Profile

On a personal note, I am much happier to listen to someone if I have a full belly but many couples don’t want to leave a speech ‘hanging’ over someone for the whole meal. Whatever you decide, please make sure you let your caterers know and then stick to it as far as possible.

Caroline from Ballymagarvey Village, Meath – View Profile

After the meal. Guests are more relaxed and have often travelled some distance to be there. It creates a more relaxed flow to the day and ensures the quality of your food is to the standard you would expect.

Alina from Glenview Hotel & Leisure Club, Wicklow – View Profile

Some like to get the speeches out of the way at the beginning of the night so they can relax and enjoy the dinner, others prefer to leave them until after and not delay the time of the meal. If you decide to have them before the meal, keep in mind that it is a long day and your guests will be too busy thinking about when the food will come out. Your audience will be much more receptive and relaxed, happy to sit back and listen to the speeches on a full stomach. I would say the best way is to split the speeches and have one or maybe two before the meal and the rest after desserts are served. Maybe talk to your speakers and see who would be more comfortable to wait and do theirs after the meal. I wouldn’t recommend having them during the courses as very often a speech can go on longer than expected and this is enough to ruin the whole meal.

John from Midlands Park Hotel, Laois – View Profile

I would suggest after the meal as before could affect the quality of the food and guests are normally hungry by this time.

Main photo from Ross & Amy’s real wedding by DKPHOTO